WHAT IS MINDFULNESS?
Mindfulness is a state of intentional, open, and accepting awareness of all that is; be it thoughts, emotions, physical sensations and surroundings. It is an ability that everyone already has and is an awakening to one’s life as it really is. Through the mindfulness lense life begins to have less ups and downs, mental and physical health improve, stress reduces and joy becomes abundant!
“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” -Viktor E. Frankl
Mindfulness vs. Mindlessness:
Mindlessness is a state of being unaware and on automatic pilot. Ever driven somewhere and not remember the drive? Or walk up the stairs and forget what you went up there for? This is mindlessness; our mind is off thinking about something else rather than what is happening in the present moment. On autopilot, there is no space between stimulus and response, we are just reacting to whatever comes across our field of awareness. It gets us stuck in ruts, being unable to break unhealthy habits and reacting before thinking. This is what creates suffering in our lives.
Mindfulness means paying attention to what’s happening in the present moment in the mind, body and external environment, with an attitude of curiosity and kindness. It creates the space between stimulus and response so that we can realize what is happening and decide how we want to respond before we act. It teaches us how to be aware of our thoughts, emotions, physical sensations and environment without reacting so we can make well informed decisions based in our values.
Mindfulness and meditation have become big buzz words in the last couple of years and yet many people do not quite grasp their meaning or their practice. Since there is a trend, people want to give it a try. At Be Embodied, LLC, we love and support this wholeheartedly! However, people give it a go on their own, struggle with it and quickly give up. This is not because they are bad meditators but rather because they do not have guidance to understand what it truly means to be mindful or to meditate so they get discouraged. That’s why the practitioners of Be Embodied, LLC are here for you!
Let’s break through your barriers and expose some of the myths about meditation and then check out our services to learn how you can get on your way to developing a successful practice!
Myth 1: You have to stop all of your thoughts
Truth: This is the biggest misconception about meditation. Stopping all of the thoughts from coming into your head; that does sound impossible and it is! Meditation is about becoming aware of and not judging your thoughts as they enter into and exit your field of awareness during a meditation practice. The result becomes less thoughts and a clearer mind, not the intention of the practice.
Myth 2: It takes a long time to see results
Truth: The brain has the ability to change itself due to its neural plasticity. It has been confirmed through the use of MRI’s, SPECT scans and EEGs demonstrate that mindfulness practice has the ability to change brain structure and functioning. Studies show improvements in self-regulation, mood, well-being, self-esteem, concentration, sleep, health, addictions, memory and more. Some of these effects do take time and a sustained practice to experience. Others however, you can experience after your first time meditating!
Myth 3: I can’t sit for that long/I don’t have time
Truth: Another common misconception is that you have to sit cross-legged, close your eyes, hold your hands in a funky position for an hour or more at a time. This is one way to meditate, however there are many others. Sitting is not the only position for meditation. There are informal meditations you can do while you are going about your day to day activities and you can squeeze two minute meditations in and still get results.
Myth 4: It will conflict with my religious beliefs/practices
Truth: Often people confuse mindfulness with religion thinking that it is a part of Buddhism. Where mindfulness did originate from Buddha’s teachings some 2,500 years ago, Buddhism is not a religion rather by its roots it is a philosophy. You do not have to be spiritual to benefit from mindfulness and meditation practices.